The Best Bars in California
Collected by Julia Cosgrove , AFAR Staff
Famous for bringing the world the likes of Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone Brewing is nothing if not cheeky. This is, after all, the first American craft brewer bold enough to open an outpost in Germany, a country steeped in beer-making tradition. But...
440 S Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92805, USA
The Blind Rabbit’s name is a wink to the Prohibition era, when some venues operated as theaters, doling out adult beverages alongside a “show” consisting of a real animal or statue. But actually, the hidden-away Anaheim bar is a...
138 W Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832, USA
Son of a Beach blonde ale. Stout at the Devil Russian imperial stout. Approachable Bastard session IPA. The names may be cheeky, but this Fullerton’s SoCo district spot run by Evans Brewing Co. takes craft beer very seriously. Exposed brick,...
5230, 4200 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264, USA
There’s something about a place being “secret” that makes it exponentially more exciting. Counter Reformation, the European-style wine bar hidden from sight inside the Parker hotel, lives up to that notion. Open from Thursday to Monday, 3 to 10...
100 W Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA
Timing is everything at 4 Saints: Arrive well before the sun goes down to snag a table for magic hour. The rooftop restaurant, which sits poolside on the seventh floor of the Kimpton Rowan Hotel, is the desert’s highest, with panoramic views...
1746 N Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA
A good cocktail can cure almost anything that ails you—at least that’s the philosophy at Apothéke, the West Coast outpost of the award-winning New York City bar. In keeping with the playful apothecary theme, barmen don white lab...
315 N Montgomery St, Ojai, CA 93023, USA
This playful picnic and wine shop is quintessentially Ojai. Set in an old Spanish house, Tipple & Ramble sells indoor/outdoor decor, vintage and new barware, retro games, coolers, and small-batch specialty food items. Stock up on artisanal s’mores...
355 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
Is Bar Agricole the best bar in the city? It’s certainly in the top five, based on the groundbreaking cocktail program developed by bartender and owner Thad Vogler; the award-winning architecture and interior design by local favorite Aidlin...
580 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA
It’s almost as if Kevin Diedrich is hiding in plain sight. The expert barman used to command the bars at BDK, Jasper’s, and Burritt Room before opening up Pacific Cocktail Haven, his own tiki-inspired bar near Union Square, which...
528 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
With the rise of the craft cocktail, sometimes it can feel as if the bubbles have been left behind, which is what makes the Riddler such an effervescent addition to the San Francisco scene. It’s a wine bar with a laser focus, offering more...
753 Alabama St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
If chef David Barzelay’s Michelin-starred restaurant Lazy Bear is the dinner party, True Laurel is the after-party. Barzelay opened this cocktail bar just a few blocks from Lazy Bear, and while it’s touted as a drinking establishment, it’s hard to...
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